The week has definitely taken its toll on my body. I took it very easy in the morning, resting a bit in my room after breakfast and then heading out about 9 to make a circle around old Tours. I started with a bike-pushing stroll through Saturday flower market which stretches the length of the meridian in the main boulevard in front of the train station.
The next stop was les Halles, the food market. The outdoor farmers’ market was in full force when I got there, tables piled with beautiful produce, fresh eggs, local wines—it was very difficult not to buy one of everything, so I took lots of pictures and settled for buying a cantaloupe. Then it was on to the indoor portion of the market, the “deli” area. Oh my God! There were also a few fruit/vegetable stands but mostly the large hall was filled with cheese vendors, butchers, bakeries, fish markets, deli-stands with olives and prepared foods. It was almost (note that I say “almost”) sensory overload. My, oh, my. I composed a picnic fit for the Gods.
Following my visit to the market I visited the wine store across the way where I bought one of my few trip souvenirs—a new corkscrew. How appropriate.
After that I did a little more riding through old Tours and paid an extended visit to the Cathedral. I really do like this church! This time an organist was practicing and he/she was very good. It was a pleasure to sit for a few minutes and enjoy—and think of all of the times I’ve spent in churches listening to various friends play the organ.
On the way towards the train station I had a slight hunger attack (it must have been all of that food I had been seeing) and stopped at a little bakery and bought two incredibly divine little pastries. I documented their beauty with a photo before devouring them on the spot.
After riding the train to Langeais I made my way to the center of town and ate my heavenly picnic on a bench with the chateau on my left and a mill pond and a view of the church to the right. [And yes, that pastry snack was only an hour and a half earlier. What can I say; I did burn quite a few calories riding in the heat of the day…] After my leisurely picnic I made a short stop at the church and then got out of town at around 2.
The following 18km were some of the slowest I’d ridden (1hr 20min) but they were totally lovely. The first stretch was on a levee along the Loire, with the river on the left and sweeping fields to the right. The next section went away from the Loire through farmlands and a forest of uniformly planted birch trees with wonderful light streaming through the branches. The last stretch went right along the river Indre into Azay-le-rideau. I paid the admission price to get into the grounds and stroll around but didn’t go into the chateau itself—I just wasn’t into crowds. So I celebrated my last chateau visit of the week with an ice cream creation enjoyed on the terrace facing the chateau.
On the way back to Langeais I realized part of the reason for my slow tempo on the way into town—there was a long gradual climb stretching several kilometers before coming into Azay-le-rideau. It was so gradual I hadn’t really noticed that it was a climb—I just thought I was a wimp. My trip back to Langeas was much quicker!
As I arrived back in Langeais, I saw to my delight that a “Broquant” was being set up; a street fair with artisan booths (as well as tacky stuff) and (my favorite, of course) lots of stands featuring grilled locally-produced meats. Believe it or not, I didn’t actually eat anything, just photographed the grilling, and strolled around until it was time to catch the train back into Tours.
Back in Tours, I had a lovely “last supper” in France at the same restaurant I’d eaten in my first night in town. It wasn’t as good at the first night, but still quite nice and the service was wonderful, so I hesitate to complain.